I remember the first time I heard about Brandon. I was home in Central California for the summer, and my best friend Alie called for one of our long catch up sessions. We’d only been talking ten minutes when she started talking about this co-worker of hers with a motorcycle and a bad habit of showing up wherever she was. His name was Brandon and the day before, she had finally agreed to let him take her on a ride on said motorcycle. In fact, as we were talking, she was waiting for him to pick her up. Over the next few years, I would hear about this poor fellow a lot, and as their relationship progressed I came to truly respect and admire him. You would not believe the patience and determination this man has… and my friend deserves nothing less than a man who loves her as completely as Brandon does.
Alie is the most generous person I have ever had the honor to call friend. I have never left her house empty handed – even if she’s had to force me to accept her gifts. (This last weekend she made me take home a bottle of peppermint hand soap that I mentioned I liked. Seriously, forced.) What I love most about her, though, is her incredible mind and drive. Our conversations have a rhythm that leave me wanting to know and do more as her very presence encourages those around her to do better. I wish everyone could know her the way I do…but since you can’t, let me show you just how beautiful she is instead. 🙂
Alie and Brandon met while working Emergency Medical Services at UCLA. Brandon liked this blonde girl so much that he’d swap his shifts with coworkers to work the same times as her. Alie would offhandedly comment on the way she seemed to work with him more than anyone else, completely oblivious to the wheeling and dealing going on behind the scenes. When we were talking about places to shoot engagement photos, the idea of photographing them with their ambulance came up. How could I possibly say no to that? After the ambulance left, we used the library and the rest of Royce court to get more photos.
Finally, we drove over to the Santa Monica Pier (they spent a lot of time in Santa Monica while they were dating) to create some romantic images under the wood pilings at sunset. It was cloudy as we parked, and I was a little concerned that we wouldn’t see the sun’s rays, but I couldn’t have planned the weather any better myself! A heavy fog started rolling in as I started shooting, creating the most romantic golden mist around the couple. Hellooooo gorgeous lighting!
Two days after Christmas, I trekked across the central valley with Holly of Delona Photography to assist her with her second Indian wedding. Holly is a super talented photographer (seriously, go check out her stuff) and a fantastic friend and I jump at every opportunity to create images alongside her. Now, I generally don’t post photos from weddings that I’m only assisting with… but I had to make an exception with this one. It was the first time I’ve ever photographed an Indian wedding and I just had to share! (I’m sorry in advance if I don’t get everything right in this post or mislabeled something… it is merely my observations as a wedding photographer.)
The the first thing I learned, was that formal Indian weddings are run on a lunar calendar. That doesn’t really mean much to me, except that it required everyone to start getting ready at 4 a.m. I arrived to photograph the groom at 5 that morning, and the house was already bustling with preparations.
After the usual dressing and getting ready for the day, guests started arriving at the groom’s home to give gifts and blessings and be a part of the Hindu traditions. Having a photograph taken is seen as a sign of respect, so everyone wanted to have their photo taken with the groom. The grooms family then formed a procession called a Baraat, and we drove together to the ceremony location. Before entering the ceremony hall, the grooms family joined together in a group and met the bride’s family at the door of the building. There, they greeted each other and the parents exchanged well wishes and gifts – followed by breakfast for everyone in the hall. At 8 a.m., after breakfast, the marriage ceremony began. The bride looked radiant in her gown that was bought directly from India. The groom couldn’t take his eyes off of her during the whole ceremony… which consisted of many chants, blessings, rituals and a firepit. There were a couple moments I was scared the fire would actually set off the hall’s smoke detectors. (but obviously all went off without a hitch) As someone who loves my family very much, I was impressed with how involved both sets of parents were in the ceremony. There was another meal after the ceremony, and Holly and I took that break to sneak the bride and groom outside and photograph them together for a few minutes. The details on their clothing were amazing – but not as enchanting as the bond that the bride and groom had with each other. They were so in love you couldn’t stop watching them together. Too stinking cute! We had a five hour break between the ceremony and reception. When we all joined back together at the hall, the guests were ready to party! (And eat some more) This was a wedding reception I will not easily forget! The reception venue was lavishly decorated, but it couldn’t compare with the brightly dressed, energetic and joyful guests. This was a PARTY!! There was entertainment, speeches, and piles of food. When the dance floor was finally opened, it was filled with the most spirited crowd of guests I can remember seeing. They danced and danced and danced. There was no mistaking that this reception was a joyful gathering.
I am so thankful to Holly for asking me to assist her with this wedding. It was the kind of experience I’m not going to forget, and I know it’s changed my view on how joyful a wedding should be! Finally, I can’t end this blog post without giving a shout out to Lightbulb Videography who shot video alongside us. Sonny and Tim were such a great mix of joy and professionalism – their excitement for the wedding day was contagious and I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for wedding or commercial videographers.